Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Breaking down the silo

There is a temptation in all of us -- certainly in me, that when things are at their worst, the response is to seal oneself off in a silo. A silo of safety. Or a silo of certainty. In such a silo the world becomes only that which we choose to see.

Things are not always what they seem. While the silo promises security and certainty, and while it may seem safe -- it turns out that the silo is a dangerous place. Because as we think we have sealed ourselves off from that which threatens us -- we end up sealing ourselves off from God. Which is never a good thing. And which becomes the foundation of sin.

"By grace you have been saved" (Ephesians 2:5). Grace breaks open the silo -- and enables us to see the full reality of the world -- in all its misery AND in all its glory. And enables us to receive the unfiltered blessing of God.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith" (2:8). When I hear some Christians claim that they have been saved, I hear more hubris than humility. It is as if the "saved" have somehow figured out how to bring God into their silo. We can't direct God's movement. We can't take a piece of God that fits our job description of God, and put God to our own use.

For by grace we are saved. The silo crumbles. And we then see and live in the fullness of creation -- and are exposed to a dimension of God that is greater than anything we could otherwise imagine.


  1. The Voice of God

    I sought to hear the voice of God,
    And climbed the topmost steeple.
    But God declared: "Go down again,
    I dwell among the people."

    Louis Newman (1893-1972)

  2. Dear Reverend,

    We are called into communion with God in the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit unites all God's children in a community of spirit bound by love. Thats the good news.

    Personal silos undermines that unity, that spirit of community. As a person in recovery I have learned that my disease of alcoholism constantly works to undermine my sobriety. It "prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to devour me". It wants to isolate me to make it easier to weaken my emotional health and spiritual condition. Alone I am at terrible risk of succumbing to the lies and deceptions I tell myself. If I remain isolated and shut myself off from others my self delusions will eventually anoint my disease with sovereignty over my spirit, mind and body. This will have terrible consequences for myself and for the people that are part of my life.

    John Donne writes that "No man is an island" and the remarkable insight offered by the 17th Meditation is that our human imperfections or our wounds provide us compassionate insight into the distressed condition of our brothers and sisters. It allows us to understand others and offer them a hand of assistance so that we might also be healed and affirmed as one in unity with The Holy Spirit. Perhaps we don't hear or understand that the bell tolls to rise us from the solitary places our minds and bodies retreat to in the hope of finding false refuge. But God calls us to live free in the liberty of hopeful communities sharing a fearless communion that is only achieved in trusted service and loving unity with others. Any man's death (distress) diminishes me, because "I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee." John Donne


    peace and prayers to all the beloved,



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